From The Pastor's Desk


Holy Family 12-31-06
After spending the Holidays with your family, would you classify them as "HOLY"? Be careful how you answer that. I did not ask if they were perfect. I asked if they were holy. The perfect person, the perfect family doesn't exist except for the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. They are seen as the model family to which every other family should aspire. Shoot for the stars so that you will at least hit the treetops. Father Richard Rohr says that IDEALISM is a great enemy to Christian community and family. Idealism says that unless the community or family to which I am joined is not perfect, I will have nothing to do with it. Therefore, expect to be disappointed. If that is the case, you just as well go to a deserted island and live by yourself. But even there, when the wind blows just right, you might get clunked in the head with a coconut. Only in Heaven will we experience the perfect loving community. To be a holy family means to be a family who seeks God, a family that is filled with his Holy Spirit, a family who knows how to love and accept one another long before each of the members is perfect. Part of coming to the perfect love of God is the ability to love family members who irritate you and try your patience. How can we claim to love the God who we do not see if we can't love our neighbor who we do see? Holiness is a process, one of being pounded, hammered out, and burned in the fire over and over again. It is a process whereby I no longer live now, but Christ lives within me. Lord help us all to grow in holiness as we interact with one another in this cruel and fallen world. Raise us up to the heights of your Holy Family, our model and guide. We thank you for giving us a share in the wonderful life of the Holy Trinity, the community of love and source of joy for eternity.

4th Sundayof Advent & Christmas 12-24-06
God NEVER breaks his promise. One of his most incredible promises was to send his son Jesus to enter into our human situation so that he could bring the whole human situation back to himself. What a Promise! What an amazing Mystery! Emmanuel! God With Us! This is the promise of the fourth Sunday of Advent, only to be fulfilled at the celebration of Christmas that will be here in only a few days. All the gifts and acts of love that we celebrate at Christmas are to point to the ONE gift and act of love, JESUS CHRIST!
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a Merry, Joyous, and Love-filled Christmas! Thank You from the bottom of my heart for your kind words, goodies, cards and gifts! May God Bless You!

Gaudete Sunday 12-17-06
“If your heart is happy, will you please inform your face?” This doesn’t mean you have to walk around giggling and chuckling all day. It does mean that we, as followers of Christ, are to bring the joy and light of the gospel (a word meaning GOOD NEWS) into this world that is often laden with sadness and pelted with bad news. Saint Paul exhorts us to rejoice in the Lord always, to let the good news bring us to another plane of joy and peace that this world cannot touch. He wrote this while he was in Prison. What are the prisons that you put yourself into? Let the light of Christ shine therein dispelling the darkness.

2nd Sunday of Advent 12-10-06
You are to give VOICE to the Lord. God longs to tell the world that he loves them, that he is here. God longs to say, “Peace be with you.” And he wants to use YOU! Because we are baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit we are called to be prophets, those who speak God’s word to the world.

1st Sunday of Advent 12-3-06
We do not know when the Lord is coming for us as an individual soul or for his people at the end of the world. DO NOT MISS THE TRAIN! BE READY ALWAYS AT EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!

Christ the King 11-26-06
Don’t count the passing days, Make the passing days count!
How do we do this?
When Jesus is
King and Lord of our lives!

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 11-19-06
On the Preparation Committee
It is understandable that some Christians have grown impatient over the centuries, and have tried to speed things up a bit. I love what someone once said about the return of the Lord. “God did not put me on the Time & Place Committee; He put me on the Preparation Committee.” Our job is not to speculate about times and seasons, but to make sure that we are living as God wants us to live - sisters and brothers to one another - here and now. Some folks are “so heavenly minded they are no earthly good.”
Donald B. Strobe, Collected Words

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 11-12-06
God is Enough!

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time 11-05-06
The Commandment of the Lord is clear!
"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.."
We must also reflect that God loves us with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. His name is

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time 10-29-06
Saint Faustina shares with us one attribute of God. She speaks clearly of the attribute of HOLINESS. “His holiness is so great that all the Powers (one choir of angels) and virtues (another choir of angels) tremble before him. The pure spirits veil their faces and lose themselves in unending adoration, and with one single word they express the highest form of adoration; that is- Holy... The holiness of God is poured out upon the church of God and upon every living soul in it, but not in the same degree. There are souls who are completely penetrated by God, and there are those who are barely alive.”

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time 10-22-06
When it is all over, you will not regret having suffered; rather you will regret having suffered so little and suffered that little so badly!
Blessed Sebastian Valfre

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time 10-15-06
“Prefer Nothing to the Love of Christ”
RULE of Saint Benedict

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time 10-8-06
Virtue that is gloomy, morose, sour, hard, is virtue only in name. It is not inspired by God’s Spirit and it does not become a Christian soul.
Mary Euphrasia Pelletier

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time 10-1-06
Sodium is an extremely active element found naturally only in combined form; it always links itself to another element. Chlorine, on the other hand, is the poisonous gas that gives bleach its offensive odor. When sodium and chlorine are combined, the result is sodium chloride. What is sodium Chloride? Salt. Common table salt. The substance we use to preserve meat and bring out its flavor. Love and truth can be like sodium and chlorine. Love without truth is flighty, sometimes blind, willing to combine with various doctrines. On the other hand, truth by itself can be offensive, sometimes even poisonous. Spoken without love, it can turn people away from the gospel. When truth and love are combined in an individual or a church, however, then we have what Jesus called "the salt of the earth," and we're able to preserve and bring out the beauty of our faith.
(Staff, Adapted from a sermon by David H. Johnson.)

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time 9-24-06
We are constantly entering into the paschal mystery. We die with Christ, and then we rise with him. One leg is joy and the other leg is sorrow. We will never reach the goal of our journey to the Promised Land with just joy or sorrow alone. Our life is a normal interchange between success and failure, good times and bad, and light and darkness. We learn happily from one but deeply and lasting from the other.

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 9-10-06
A story is told of a family that went into a restaurant. The waitress walked up and, looking at the young boy, said: What will it be? The boy eagerly shouted back: “I'll take a hamburger, French fries, and a chocolate shake.” The mother immediately interrupted: Oh, that's not what he wants. “He'll take the roast beef, a baked potato, and a glass of milk.” Much to the surprise of the mother and the boy, the waitress completely ignored her and again asked the boy: “And what do you want on that hamburger?” The boy shouted back, “ketchup, lots of ketchup.” “And what kind of shake?” “Make it chocolate.” The boy then turned to his parents with a big smile on his face and said: “Say, ain't she something. She thinks that I'm real!”

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 9-3-06
We can pray all the mysteries of the rosary each day. We can have continual novena’s going to various saints. We can have every version of the bible on our shelves. But if we do not love in truth and in deed, the prayers are empty, void and meaningless. Jesus says this week, “This people pay me lip service, but their hearts are far from me!” May the Lord fill our hearts with such love that it is clearly manifested in our deeds.

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time 8-27-06
A missionary in Brazil visited a market town on a religious holiday, and saw a sale sign in a store’s window advertising "Cheap crosses for sell." We may look for cheap crosses – no sacrifice, no commitment, no cost, no pain – but there is no such thing. Jesus’ disciples have to follow the way of the cross.
Reverend Katherine Fagerburg, Difficult Decisions

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time 8-20-06
“Whoever is unable to forgive breaks the very bridge over which they must one day cross.” (George Hessel) The Eucharist is the bridge between heaven and earth. Whoever receives Jesus repairs that broken bridge and has access to eternal life

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time 8-13-06
If you are not in heaven before you get into heaven you will never get to heaven. This doesn’t mean life here on earth will be blissful. However, this life is the flip side of bliss. It is the struggle and sacrifice that, when flipped at our death will turn to pure joy. It is the paschal mystery, the death and resurrection wrapped up together in one unity. Let’s face it. We all long for the other side of the coin. We need food for our journey. Most of the time when we eat food it is about us receiving and consuming. With the Eucharist it is about us giving, about being those who do the will of God no matter what the cost. Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of the Father!” The will of the Father was Jesus’ sacrifice for the world which contained within it the resurrection. If we die with him, we shall live with him. Jesus comes now to live within us, to die within us as we die to sin, and to rise again in us.
Please go to the website and click on the link NEW CHURCH to see some results of our extensive discussion

The Transfiguration of the Lord 8-6-06
Jesus comes to transfigure us so that we will be conformity with him. Satan comes to disfigure us so that our face will match his. TAKE YOUR PICK!

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time 7-30-06
The only way to make rapid progress along the path of Divine Love is to remain very little and put all our trust in Almighty God.
Saint Therese of Lisieux

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time 7-23-06
One man challenged another to an all-day wood chopping contest. The challenger worked very hard, stopping only for a brief lunch break. The other man had a leisurely lunch and took several breaks during the day. At the end of the day, the challenger was surprised and annoyed to find that the other fellow had chopped substantially more wood than he had. "I don't get it," he said. "Every time I checked, you were taking a rest, yet you chopped more wood than I did."
"But you didn't notice," said the winning woodsman, "that I was sharpening my ax when I sat down to rest."
Sermon Illustrations, 1999

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time 7-9-06
“I worry until midnight and from then on, I let God worry!”
Blessed Louis Guanella

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time 7-2-06
“God will always think of me, so that I will always be. Even when my body is dead and gone, my soul will live and carry on!”

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time 6-25-06
Trust doesn’t mean moving forward with everything worked out. It means jumping into the dark hole and trusting God to pull you out!

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ 6-18-06
When we receive Holy Communion, we also let Jesus receive us as we give ourselves to him. Hence, we call it communion. To be “in union with” Jesus is what it is all about.

Trinity Sunday 6-11-06
“May the Grace (karis) of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love (agaph) of God and the Fellowship (koinwnia) of the Holy Spirit be with all of you!” (2Cor 13:14) As Saint Paul concludes his letter to the Corinthians he prays a blessing upon them filled with goodness and richness. Inherent in the blessing is the assertion of the Blessed Trinity. Paul acknowledges Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit, but then takes it a step further to articulate certain gifts or functions that the Trinity give to us.
1. Grace simply means Gift. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that all who believe in him may not perish but may have everlasting life.” John 3:16 Jesus is God’s great gift to us.
2. Love is the essence of God. Paul tells us also in Corinthians that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.” God wanted to bring us into a union of perfect love with himself. Once someone asked Saint John why he taught so much on love. Saint John answered, “Because that is all there is. Love. Love. Love.” The Greek word for love here is the highest kind of love, a love that would die for someone else, an unconditional love, much as a parent for a child.
3. Fellowship is another word for community. Put simply, through the Holy Spirit we are all brought together as one. The Holy Spirit is the bond of our unity and ties everything up together in love! In other words, God wants to hang out with us in pure love. God loved us into existence so that we may live in a perfect union of love with the Triune God, and through our unity with God we are to know and love one another in perfect community or fellowship for all of eternity. Praise God!

Pentecost Sunday 6-4-06
Christianity outside the Church
D.L. Moody once called on a leading citizen in Chicago to persuade him to accept Christ. They were seated in the man’s parlor. It was winter and coal was burning in the fireplace. The man objected that he could be just as good a Christian outside the church as in it. Moody said nothing, but stepped to the fireplace, took the tongs, picked a blazing coal from the fire and set it off by itself. In silence the two watched it smolder and go out. “I see,” said the man. (The Interpreter’s Bible)

Ascension Sunday 5-28-06
A Church Is a Family
Charles E. Jefferson once described the difference between an audience and a church. He said, "An audience is a crowd. A church is a family. An audience is a gathering. A church is a fellowship. An audience is a collection. A church is an organism. An audience is a heap of stones. A church is a temple." And he concludes, "Preachers are ordained not to attract an audience, but to build a church." I hope that everyone in this room understands that critical difference. If the Lion's club or the Kiwanis club is torn with dissension, it is a shame. But when the church of Jesus Christ is in turmoil, it is a tragedy.

6th Sunday of Easter 5-21-06
“Our Home is- Heaven. On earth, we are like travelers staying at a hotel. When one is away, one is always thinking of going home.”
Saint John Vianney

5th Sunday of Easter 5-14-06
(Apologies to 1Corinthians 13)

If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, but have not love, I am a housekeeper--not a homemaker. If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements, but have not love, my children learn cleanliness - not godliness. Love leaves the dust in search of a child's laugh. Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window. Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk. Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys. Love is present through the trials. Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive. Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child, and then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood. Love is the key that opens a child's heart to God. Before I became a mother I took glory in my house of perfection. Now I glory in God's perfection of my child.

As a mother, there is much I must teach my child, but the greatest of all is love.
(Author Unknown

4th Sunday of Easter 5-7-06
Life is a series of sacrifices whether we like it or not. When we lay it down freely, even in advance sometimes, it moves along with much more happiness ease, and peace.

3rd Sunday of Easter 4-30-06
I. New Church
A. EDUCATION ON THE NEW CHURCH will begin on Tuesday, May 16th at 7:00pm at Sacred Heart Church. Father Brian Hughes and Father Bruce Lawler will begin a four part presentation on various aspects of teaching concerning liturgical and architectural history of churches, relevant church documents, the liturgical year and various rites, and church design. This is being offered so as to facilitate a well informed and integral execution of the construction of our new church and hall. THE ENTIRE PARISH IS WELCOME AND ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND THIS MINI-COURSE! The dates for these presentations is as follows:
a. Tuesday May 16th at 7:00 pm in the church
b. Wednesday May 24th at 7:00 pm in the church
c. Wednesday June 31st at 7:00 pm in the church
d. Wednesday June 14th at 7:00 pm in the church
B. After this series, the building committee consisting of 11 people will get together with Father Hughes to come up with a non graphic description of the church which in turn will lead to the hiring of an architect to draw up a preliminary and very flexible drawing (schematic design) of the new church and hall.
II. The Bishop has asked me to continue my diocesan position as liaison to the charismatic renewal. This will entail me being gone to a meeting in Milwaukee this week from May 1st to the 5th. Even though may of the daily mass goers are very aware of mass times at surrounding parishes, I would like to offer a prayer alternative while I am gone, a communion service. Our pastoral minister Mike Stover is here to help with such things. Mike, by virtue of his position as pastoral minister, and as an instituted lector and acolyte, is certainly able and qualified to offer a liturgy of the word and distribution of communion as presented in the RITES book of the Catholic Church. I would encourage you to attend this RITE OF DISTRIBUTING COMMUNION OUTSIDE OF MASS. The days and times for these are Tuesday at 12:05 in Ida Grove and Wednesday at 8:00 am in Holstein.
III. Saint Patrick’s Celebration was a great success this year despite the icy weather! We ended up with $3,080.59 for scholarships not to mention a great time with tasty food and awesome Irish music. A HUGE thank you to the entire parish for your incredible cooperation and help to make this a great event. We are also so grateful to the Donors who made this possible. We had a great team of people who put the whole event together. In alphabetical order…
a. Martha Boyle- Promotions
b. Debbie Else- Set up helper
c. Matt Foristal- Fundraising
d. Diane Gardalen- Food, ticket sales and refreshments
e. Lori McGuire- Set up, decorations, treasurer
f. YOUTH!!!!
Thank you team!!!!!!

Divine Mercy Sunday 4-23-06
Today is DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY. Jesus came to humankind to enter into out human situation, to suffer, die and rise in order to pour fourth his forgiveness upon the entire world so as to reconcile us to the Father. Because we did nothing to deserve this, we call this MERCY. Mercy is mercy precisely because it is given when it is not deserved. On divine Mercy Sunday let us remember the ABC’s of Mercy:
A. Ask for God’s Mercy.
B. Be Merciful yourself
C. Completely trust in God’s Mercy

Easter Sunday 4-16-06
Happy Easter! Alleluia!
“The Easter event-the bodily resurrection of Christ-pervades the life of the whole church…The resurrection has immense power to liberate, to uplift, to bring about justice, to effect holiness, to cause JOY…We do not pretend that life is all beauty. We are aware of darkness and sin, of poverty and pain. But we know that Jesus has conquered sin and passed through his own pain to the glory of the resurrection. And we live in the light of his paschal mystery-the mystery of death and resurrection. We are an Easter people and alleluia is our song!” John Paul II

Palm Sunday 4-9-06
Dear friends in Christ, for five weeks of Lent we have been preparing, by works of charity and self-sacrifice, for the celebration of our Lord’s paschal mystery. Today we come together to begin this solemn celebration in union with the whole Church throughout the world. Christ entered in triumph into his own city, to complete his work as our Messiah: to suffer, to die, and to rise again. Let us remember with devotion this entry which began his saving work and follow him with a lively faith. United with him in his suffering on the cross, may we share his resurrection and new life.
-The Roman Missal-

5th Sunday of Lent 4-2-06
Pope John Paul the Great
It is with deep heartfelt gratitude to God that we remember Pope John Paul II who we now call, “The Great.” He often faced all the powers of hell with great courage and faith. He gave us an example of how to live well and how to die well. I have a picture of his tomb in Rome at Saint Peter’s Basilica with a book placed nearby that people from United Hearts of Ida County Cluster signed. I hope to make a copy of that picture available soon for all. I want to put on that picture the simple words often proclaimed by John Paul, “Be not Afraid!” I think of today’s gospel, “If the grain of wheat dies and falls into the ground, it will bear much fruit.” John Paul the great has been placed in the ground not to abandon us but to be a constant companion and intercessor. He really lifts you up to the Lord if you ask him!

4th Sunday of Lent 3-26-06
“Jesus paid a debt he didn’t owe, Because, We owed a debt that we couldn’t pay”
Bishop Edmund Carmondy

3rd Sunday of Lent 3-19-06
“The examination of conscience is one of the most decisive moments in a person’s life. It places each individual before the truth of his or her own life. Thus, we discover the distance that separates our deeds from the ideal that we had set for ourselves.”
John Paul II

2nd Sunday of Lent 3-12-06
Abraham had to be willing to obediently give up the dearest reality of his life, his son Isaac. Why? So that He could demonstrate that God was the first love of his life. When we give up pleasures and comforts for lent, we learn to say, “God alone is enough.” The interesting thing about it though is that when we are willing to die to these things in our lives, God gives them back to us with a greater and much deeper joy. Not only did God give Abraham his son Isaac back, but he took it a step further and gave his own son for their eternal redemption.

1st Sunday of Lent 3-5-06
Remember man that you are dust and to dust you shall return.

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2-26-06
There is a time to be in the desert and a time to be at the banquet table. The Lord leads us into the desert to speak to our distracted hearts. It’s often in times of trial that he has our undivided attention and hence can work with us. After working with us and after we turn fully to him he leads us to the peace, love and joy of the banquet feast. These cycles are normal seasons of the soul.

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2-19-06
Look at your friendships. Do they bring you closer to the Lord? If so then carry on! Do they lead you away from union with the Lord? If so, then prune or sever them completely. In the Gospel the friends bring the paralytic to Jesus. Now, that is what a friend does!

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2-12-06
Jesus had the Lepers show themselves to the priest for their healing. He still does this today. We are healed of the leprosy of sin.

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2-5-06
Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God. The disciples preached Christ crucified and risen as the one who bestows the Kingdom of God on all who accept and follow him.

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time 1-29-06
No matter what your state in life, be it married, single felicity, or a celibate commitment, our first love is the Lord our God who IS LOVE. Without God being the center of our life, there is no such thing as real love.

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 1-22-06
You may have taken 10,000 steps away from the Lord, but it is only ONE step back! Seek the Lord while He may be found!

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 1-15-06
You may remember about three weeks ago me telling the story of the father who called out to his lost three year old only to hear with great delight, “Here I am.” Let us now see a beautiful scriptural basis for this in Samuel who says the same to the Lord. How the Lord delights in our response to Him. He truly is our Father. We cry out, “Here I am.” And God responds, “I AM here.”

Epiphany of the Lord 1-8-06
Epiphany means Manifestation OR Revelation. We celebrate this Sunday that Jesus is revealed to the shepherds (people of Israel) and to the magi (the gentiles), in other words the entire world, to be the light of the world. He is the Star who 33 years later would rise victorious from the grave! For the primitive church the reality of the resurrection was central, which shed light upon the profound reality that in the incarnation, our God became flesh.

New Year 1-1-06
May the Lord fill your life with grace this year.
Happy New Year!